Be Thankful for our Families and for Each Other

12-26-2021From the Pastor's DeskMsgr. Ellsworth R. Walden

As much as we make plans and have our daily routines, very often we are asked to give our time and attention to someone who was “not on the schedule” that day. What energizes us In these situations is to see the people involved as opportunities to enrich and in that way being enriched ourselves. Today we celebrate the feast of the Holy Family. It is always good to be enriched by our family members. I am the oldest of four children, having two sisters and a brother who is the youngest. He is seventeen years younger than me. I used to come home from the seminary and pick him up and down when he was a little boy. Now he is bigger and stronger than I am. But I say he is my brother with great joy. At least a couple times a month I go out to Greenport to see him and have supper with him and his family. It is just good to spend time together. Seemingly we don’t do anything significant but we do. We simply enjoy spending time with each other. His business is putting in gravestones and making stairs. The closest I came to making stairs was a few times putting the screws in the holes he drilled in the back of a couple of sets of stairs so he could follow after with the screw gun to put them in. And I did mix the cement when we put the gravestone on my parents grave.

The first reading for Mass today (Sirach 3:2-7, 12-14) is one of my favorite passages: “My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him; revile him not all the days of his life; kindness to a father will not be forgotten.” I had that opportunity to do that for both my father and mother as they were dying. What a joy it was to care for them. In the second reading for Mass today (Colossians 3:12-17) St. Paul lays out the foundation of family life as well as with our lives with one another outside of our families:

Brothers and sisters:
Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved,
heartfelt compassion, kindness,
humility, gentleness, and patience,
bearing with one another and forgiving one another,
if one has a grievance against another;
as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And
over all these put on love,
that is, the bond of perfection.
And let the peace of Christ control your hearts,
the peace into which you were also called in one body.
And be thankful.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,
as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one
another,
singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God.
And whatever you do, in word or in deed,
do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I thank God for my family and for you the family of St. Patrick’s Parish. Your generosity, compassion, goodness, and love are truly inspiring, encouraging, and life giving. In so many ways through our love we touch the lives of one another and countless other people. Your generosity at Christmas through our Reach for a Star program provided thousands of gifts to those in need. They offered us a opportunity to love and we responded beautifully.

Gracious God and Father,
We are your people embraced by your love.
We thank you for your presence with us
throughout all time.

Create us anew.
Liberate us from all that keeps us from you.
Send your Holy Spirit, enabling us
to recreate our world and restore justice.

Heal us from every form of sin and violence.
Transform us to live your Word more profoundly.
Reconcile us so enemies, become friends.
Awaken us to the sacred;
Nurture our relationships;

Enliven our parishes; reunite our families.
Fill us with joy to celebrate the fullness of life.
Empower us to be a community of love
growing in your likeness by the
grace of Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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